The New Brunswick Health Council has released the most detailed view yet of health and social welfare in towns and cities across the province, in hopes municipalities and individuals will make smarter, healthier choices.
The group’s report "My Community at a Glance” splits the province into 33 community profiles. It has upload the information online.
“Exposure to secondhand smoke. There's behaviours, level of exercise, healthy eating, socio-economic factors as I had mentioned, literacy, or income level. They can represent hurdles,” said Stéphane Robichaud, CEO of the New Brunswick Health Council.
Cities, towns and villages will get a glimpse at the overall health of their area.
“It's a first. And that's why I think many of the community groups are quite excited about it because often when you're in New Brunswick, sometimes the best you've got is Atlantic numbers and if you get New Brunswick numbers the chances that it's broken down to your community is very slim,” Robichaud said.
The data reflects:
- Demographics like population, birth rate, and how many seniors and youth live in the area
- Health behaviours like diet, physical activity and alcohol and tobacco usage
- Social and economic factors like the main industries in the community, the median revenue and the education level of the people living there
- People's access to health services
For example, the report indicates 33 per cent of people living in the Shippagan, Lamèque and the Inkerman area have high blood pressure or hypertension.
The site shows people living in the Dieppe and Memramcook area have the lowest rate at 18.5 per cent.
Win for non-profits
The Heart and Stroke Foundation says knowing what is happening in specific communities is invaluable.
“This is huge for non-profits across the province in terms of identifying key areas to target initiatives as well as monitor our impact on certain communities,” said Lizzy Gresh, manager of health promotion at the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
The United Way says it has already used the information in the report.
Micha Fardy, director of community development, says in the past the charity has had to go to multiple different sources for help.
“However to have it all one specific document that really supports a community discussion. I think the council has done an amazing job at breaking it down using the population health model. People are interested in knowing the healthy behaviours of their community,” she said.
The New Brunswick Health Council says it wants municipalities and individuals to use this information to better understand the health and social needs of New Brunswickers.
The council says it will update the community profiles every three years.